The Need for Research and Science Policy

In 1994, the U.S. EPA held an Agency-wide colloquium to examine the then emerging endocrine disruptor issue. This original colloquium was a galvanizing event for Agency endocrine disruptor initiatives and called for a science assessment of the overall issue, a focused research agenda, collaboration with other government agencies, and the development of science and science policies.

Endocrine Disruptor Research and Regulation in the United States Research Strategies

Research strategies were realized in 1995, when two workshops were convened to assist the U.S. government in identifying research needs for endocrine disruptors. One workshop focused on mammalian toxicology and human health,3 whereas the second workshop concerned ecological toxicology and environmental effects.5 The workshops identified salient questions to be addressed by research:

• What types of adverse effects are caused by endocrine disruptors?

• What chemicals are responsible for causing endocrine disruption?

• What exposure levels are required to cause adverse effects?

• Are effects on fish and wildlife due to isolated high exposure incidents or the result of a broader environmental contamination problem?

• How much exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals occurs for humans, fish, and wildlife?

• What is the shape of the dose-response curve?

• Are breast and testicular cancers due to endocrine disruptors?

• Are existing test protocols adequate to detect the effects of endocrine disruptors?

Over the past two years, the research strategy has been implemented through intramural and extramural research grant programs. In addition, the Agency has developed a United States Federal Research Inventory to facilitate understanding of the kinds of research being conducted or funded by U.S. Federal Agencies.

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